The Down Side of Pleasure

A look at addiction


Addiction is a compulsive condition that reduces a persons ability to function as a 'normal person' within their society. In other words, when a person become addicted to a drug or an activity, they are unable to fully control their behaviour.

The reason that people become addicted is that they are not fully in control of their lives and that they are experiencing aspects of the lives as being unpleasant. When they find a drug or activity that is so pleasurable that they temporarily forget the unpleasant things in their lives, pleasurable things begin to take precedent in their life. The actual process of addiction is subtle and most people don't realise that they are addicted until the habit is fixed.

One must realise that life on earth, our civilisation and many societies are all experimental. What many people believe is not necessarily true or real, and people get addicted to ideas and beliefs as much as substances or activities. What is real or unreal as a matter of personal perception, and many of those things that we find pleasurable help people to decide or blur their reality.

But is because life is experimental and that there is no fixed truth about how we see and shape our world that the majority of the population live in a state of confusion. This confusion of itself creates happiness because the world is so unjust so unfair. There seems to be no cognitive understanding of why we were born, we have absolutely no understanding of our place in the universe which means that we don't have sufficient grasp on our reality so as to be able to determine our own happiness and success in life.

Socially we have a great many highly addictive drugs at our disposal and we are socialised to utilise these drugs. A great many people are habituated to consume considerable amounts of coffee during the day, others smoke cigarettes and many use over-the-counter prescription medications to affect their mood and sense of well-being. All these drugs are designed to help people conform, to fit in and get the job done no matter how unhappy they be.

A Mystic Master talks on overcoming addiction

You would be right in understanding that even the processes of our upbringing and education establish compulsive behaviour and patterns that support addiction to more dangerous drugs and activities. The education system in the Western world is less concerned with educating people about who they are, it's more about fitting them up for a lifetime of service to the corporation.

Some of the things that people come addicted to:

  • Sleep
    Of course we need to sleep and everyone has a different opinion about how much sleep we need. The accepted normal for most people is 6 to 8 hours and yet we know that many people are very happy sleeping only 3 or 4 hours a day. But the person who finds life a challenge that they are not comfortable will often seek to sleep for 8, 10 or even more hours per day and still complain that they are tired. In fact an excess of sleep creates a range of problems because body and mind are insufficiently exercised, and because a person is sleeping long hours, the digestive processes and consequently their metabolism becomes very sluggish.
  • Recreational drugs
    The idea of recreational drugs comes from the fact that these substances help people do recreate a sense of who they are as human beings and to re-establish purpose and values in life. However this often runs contrary to corporate opinion as the corporations that run the world (and we must remember here that governments are also corporations), only want people to be economic and productive units within their view of what society should be. If we take cannabis, it is one of the most popular recreational drugs in the world. But because governments have made it illegal in many countries, it also makes users into criminals. Yet as a drug it is not addictive, no one has ever died from smoking pot and in addition to the medical benefits of reducing pain and suffering, it gives users a sense of well-being and connection with life.Drugs such as alcohol, heroin and methamphetamine are not recreational, they induce a state of mind that distorts reality. Opiates have a medical use but even these are addictive. In fact the most addictive drugs in the world and the most often used are those that are prescribed by doctors. In fact in the USA alone, over 400,000 people die every year through wrong prescribing and medical mistakes. You would think that if the law was just and fair cannabis would be legal and all those other drugs more heavily regulated.
  • Sex
    Sex is one of life's greatest pleasures and its natures way of encouraging us to reproduce. While sex is something that many people have not been able to do very well, people become addicted to the challenge of performing sexually in a way that is increasingly more enjoyable and they become addicted because good sex temporarily was the mind and body at ease. Good sex and intimacy creates a distance between the individuals in the world which allows clear communication and as one of the sweetest pleasures in life. That because life is often so unpleasant, sex is a wonderful form of escapism and people invest a lot of time and effort into trying to attain those sweet moments.
  • Food and taste
    Ahh, all that's delicious and nice to eat. Our primary objective is to eat so that we may live and in so doing maintain our health, fitness and zest for life. Yet because life is so often mundane and of opportunity lacks, so many people today find pleasure in both the food they eat and the sensation of taste. In response to this,
    corporate science has evolved a smorgasbord of taste and textural sensation for people to ingest. On the surface, it seems all very nice. But in the analysis and 200 years of civilisation the problems are staring us in the face. We have a huge increase in the rates of obesity, huge increase in the rate of dental decay, a huge increase in preventable diseases which are all attributed to a poor diet and lifestyle. Sugar especially this toxic when consumed in any quantity beyond a few grams per day. But our food is also laden with so many chemicals that it's impossible to keep track and these chemicals build up in our bodies and cause much of the chronic disease we see in the world today.
  • Control freaks
    Many people like being in charge because it gives them a sense of responsibility and that they are actually in charge of their destiny. They are probably not wrong in realising that almost every administration sucks and the people within most organisations must suffer a tolerable degree of unhappiness. This of course is what drives people to drink, sex and drugs.

While pleasure affords a temporary reprieve from unhappiness, for a great many people also become addicted to their misery provided that it yields some small pleasure. Yet we have this innate drive to be happy and when we cannot be happy within our current life circumstances we have wide variety of things that offer a temporary pleasure and a reprieve from the mundane. But we are creative beings and even in the most dire of circumstances we can create moments of pleasure. In fact we need pleasure in order to survive and without it we could not survive. So there is no moral argument against pleasure, the moral arguments simply arise from peoples opinions about what pleasure should be.

The religious/moralists argue that sex and drugs are bad, yet they themselves are addicted to their beliefs so much so that they try to impose them on everyone else. The pleasure is a necessary life experience and as human beings we need to seek out pleasure in all its forms, but without attachment because attachment is addiction.

For every pleasure possible to conceive, it is also possible to become addicted to every pleasure. But addiction creates other compulsive behaviours. The hard drug user often turns to a life of crime in order to finance their habit, the person addicted to money becomes a thief, the sex addict may offend other people's sense of morality and the power addict may ruin many people's lives.

Cover image by Istri


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